Except I don’t remember smiling all that much during the process.
Welp, until Irma passes and the debris is clear…have a good week, and stay safe.
Except I don’t remember smiling all that much during the process.
Welp, until Irma passes and the debris is clear…have a good week, and stay safe.
Random points, in no particular order, on the fly:
Consumer PSA: After spending a small fortune -two short years ago!- on what we thought was a very nice stainles steel refrigerator from the company which declares that life is good, the thing started warming a week ago. A technician came out, and declared that we have to wait another week for the part because “life is good’s” refrigerator compressors are going out in kitchens all over town. Apparently, it’s a thing. How, I ask, did we miss this, given our propensity to do research before we buy? It occurs to me that we’ve bought two in 15 years whereas both my husband and I spent two decades in our parents’ house and never saw either of our dads have to buy a new fridge.
The cognitive dissonance of feminism: Thinking about the Google guy and the fallout from his so-called manifesto. I am still occasionally struck by how stupid feminism is. That it is inherently misogynistic. Rather than accepting women’s differences from men as just that, and worth celebrating, they themselves view femininity as weakness. They then project their own neuroticism and insecurity with their femininity onto those who dare say out loud that women are indeed different from men. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad, and wasn’t ruining countless numbers of lives and psyches.
Post commencement thoughts: We graduated our twins from college recently. I know there are readers who have all kinds of *issues* with that, but whatever. I trust my man’s judgment implicitly on this one. More than that, I agree. I was taking some mental notes at both commencement exercises.
At the first ceremony there were roughly 1200 graduates. Around 40 of the roughly 170 black graduates were black men (yes, I was counting). I’m fairly certain at least three of those were gay.
At the second commencement there were roughly 1500 graduates. I wasn’t quite as attentive to the numbers, but I would estimate nearly 250 black graduates, with approximately 100 black men and that was because the second group of colleges were heavy with areas of study that more male oriented fiels of study. They also handed out roughly 30 doctorates in computer science and engineering. With the exception of two candidates, EVERY announced candidate was of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. Make of that what you will…
We’ll start our new school year on Monday: I think we’re all ready for it. The kids are very excited about their new classes in te Classical program we enrolled them in. Depite the sticker shock, it doesn’t really equate to less work for me. Just more help, and it’s help I’m glad to get. This despite the fact that I have to get ready to read -along with our 11-yer-old- a lot of book not previously in my reading queue. Among them (not an exhaustive list):
Pretty sure there are very few middle schoolers (whether privately or public schooled) being challenged to read great literature. Like I said, we’re excited. There are lots of fun, challenging, and enriching things on tap for the school year. Now, to get us out of this summer fluidity and restore some structure…
Have any of you started your new school years yet? I suspect the northerners who read here can’t even begin to imagine school starting weeks before Labor Day.
Have a good weekend!
Yesterday morning a dear friend, of Scotch-Irish descent born and raised in Appalachia who has long since forged a new life and path with her (non-Appalachian) husband and children, handed me a book.
Hillbilly Elegy, which I’d never heard of despite its being a best seller, has fascinated me since I picked it up last evening. In the years since I’ve known my friend, she has been trying to get me to *get* the universality of certain experiences in a way that I didn’t until I started reading this book.
There were numerous accounts and recollections offered from J.D. Vance’s upbringing that I related to quite strongly. He offered examples and experiences that I could have written almost verbatim, but for the cast of characters and regional backdrop. This, even though I am as far removed from Appalachian culture as anyone I know.
Many of his conflicting feelings and emotions (feelings which my friend has also expressed over the years) resonated with me. How, did I connect with this white hillbilly -his description of himself- from the Appalachian hills in a way that would seem pretty unthinkable to me, a black woman raised in the black, working class south?
It really came down to the same thing that built the connection between my friend and I. I used to think it was that we both loved Jesus, but nope. There are plenty of people who genuinely love Jesus but with whom I’d just as soon not be bothered. Rather, it is tension of being similarly situated on numerous fronts:
As I talked with my daughter about it this morning, she was less incredulous. Across the board, she noted, people are increasingly classless and it is quite common now to find people of various backgrounds and ethnicities involved in various displays of dysfunction. The stereotypes are becoming increasingly obsolete and the dysfunction generally associated with the poor or ghetto classes are seen every where except among the upper crust.
Of course, while she certainly witnesses the tension of which I write, she does so from a more comfortable vantage point. Which is the very thing we wanted for our children; the ability to see, analyze, and understand without emotional or psychological weights. In effect, any double consciousness they experience is spiritual in nature (in the world not of it and all that), rather than ethnic or cultural, as described by W.E.B. DuBois.
Somehow, my man seems less hamstrung by the weights than I. As usual, he is the anchor to my rocking boat, the lighthouse our kids use to navigate the storm that typifies today’s stormy cultural waters. But then, he generally ignores commentary: from the left, right, and others, choosing to think for himself. “True intelligence [about an issue]”, he said recently, “Comes from taking the time to really think about a thing, not simply regurgitating what someone else said about it, and that includes randomly spouting off cherry-picked Scriptures.”
 Thomas Sowell penned the research that connected a lot of these dots several years ago, but because he is that damnable combination of black and conservative, this research is rarely spoken of when dysfunctional cultural narratives are discussed.
I haven’t offered a lot of commentary lately as I’m making a point of listening more than “speaking”. Besides reading a lot of books on various topics, I’ve also listened to some interesting talks from those with much more flare and articulation than I can muster. I thought I’d share a few for my Friday Frivolities post.
Our girls are not terribly active on social media, but they do follow young Christian women who, like them, are bucking the cultural trend by saving sex for marriage and chronicling the challenges that come with it. In this TED talk Yvonne Orji, a successful actress and 33-year-old Christian virgin, relates her journey:
Next up, John Crist offers a very funny stand up act about kids these days:
This one sparked lots of thoughts about the difference in how kids are raised with each successive generation. When I was a kid, if we did our chores and homework, we basically ran wild until the street lights came on. Besides dinner conversation, Sundays at Ponderosa, and the occasional day trip to local attractions, our parents felt little compulsion to spend oodles of time watching over and playing with us.
With our older kids, other neighborhood kids were there to run around with after school. There was a homeschool family whose house was at the corner of our block, and nearly every afternoon around 1 PM, little Luke would knock on our door and ask, “Can the girls come out?” and I would remind him that because they went to school, they wouldn’t be home until 3. After homework, they ran around with those kids as well as other kids from the neighborhood. I spent most of my quality time with them either reading to them or in the kitchen. They played more with their dad, but most of their play time was with other kids.
We still have two younger children and live in the same house as we did with the older three. If Halloween is any indication, there are still plenty of children in this neighborhood. However, if it’s not Halloween, you don’t them. This has increased the burden on parents to provide entertainment and/or play dates. I think this makes for a generation of less adaptable kids from what I can tell, and that includes mine, despite the fact that they were born to two tough as nails, passionate, opinionated parents. Moving on…
Pick all the nits with me in this next one, LOL I may offer my thoughts in the comments but I’d rather first hear what you guys take away from this:
This next one is a TED talk by Sarah Knight that I have wrestled with sharing because she uses less than ladylike language. Very less in fact, but when a friend shared it with me it was a light bulb moment, and here’s why.
One of things that hinders us -or me at least- attending with intention to the things that we truly DO care about, is the fact that we offer too much of our time, energy, and in many cases money, to things that, if we stop to think about them, don’t matter to us in the grand scheme of things.
Some people avoid doing the wrong things by focusing hard on the right things. I wish I was one of those people. I need to first take inventory of what to discard, and with the newly cleared space (mental and emotional as well as physical), the things I want to give full intention to have room to flourish and I have fertile soil in which to grow. In other words, when I wasn’t giving my intention to the wrong things, my mind was free to focus on the true, the lovely, the noble, and things of good report.
Anyway, here’s the TED talk, but be warned that she uses the f-word, and repeatedly so. If you’re inclined to clutch your pearls, please just skip it:
In the spirit of Sarah Knight’s talk, I also saw this post from a fellow bibliophile about the hazards of conflating social media acquaintance with real connections:
When I lost my father 18 months ago, two Internet friends whom I’ve never met -possibly three in fact as one was anonymous- sent flowers. That meant a great deal, so I won’t summarily dismiss every virtual acquaintance out of hand. However, I would dismiss the lion’s share and Major Styles hits some major points here worth considering. I think it’s something millennials in particular should be wary of.
Edited to add: I forgot to add this video Hearth made me aware of about the decline of religion in the modern West, and why its comeback is a long shot at best. As much as it pains me, I actually agree with this man. I don’t think the Bible’s prophetic trajectory offers a lot of hope for mass genuine revival in the West or anywhere else for that matter. We are to be about reaching souls, not salvaging a culture:
Lastly, but certainly not least by any stretch, is this sermon from Voddie Baucham. In it he reminds us of something powerful about the story of Noah and the Flood and it’s this:
In the flood (an awful display of God’s wrath, quiet as that’s kept), we tend to see ourselves from the perspective of Noah and his family. Bro. Baucham wonders if it occurs to any that plenty -most even!- of the people who drowned in that terrific judgement were not murderers, drunkards, or adulteresses. They were people like you and me, living normal lives and committing “run of the mill” sins.
I love Voddie Baucham’s sermons because they offer me the opportunity to express more gratitude for God’s astonishing grace, and a nice strong vaccination against smug self-righteousness.
Y’all really should really give it a listen. I can’t think of a better way to set our hearts aright as we prepare for the Sabbath day.
Have a great weekend!
While doing research for an offline project, I ran across this article advertising a book on the impact of fatherlessness on the lives of black men who have produced famous and widely read literature. These portions jumped out at me:
“One question pulls this together: What is the impact on black men when their fathers are absent?” said Green, who is also an associate professor at UNCG. “It’s quite significant, but it’s not debilitating. It doesn’t mean life is over for them, that they’re ‘at risk’ or that they have a target on them.”
Later, the author continues:
The success of the profiled authors proves that the absence of a paternal figure doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle, Green found.
“I’m not saying in this book that not having a father doesn’t make a tremendous impact, because it does,” Green said. “I’m not saying they will all become award-winning writers or the president of the United States. What I am saying is that they have a chance to be something – and we need to encourage that.”
It is a monumental mistake to use Barack Obama, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright as templates for the typical black man who grows up without his father, which is what this book does. Exceptional cases are just that; exceptional. That we know their names at all is reason enough to discount them as indicative of the average man, regardless of race.
This is not helpful.
It’s been a very rainy week and as such we’ve been indoors a lot, with exceptions for a couple of trips to our local library which has amazing activities, events, and classes to beat the dog days of summer doldrums in our city. Even if it wasn’t raining all week, it would be a sweltering sauna all day, followed by a hand swatting mosquito farm at night. Such as summertime in a tropical climate. We’ve made good use of the time though.
The life changing magic of tidying up rather than reorganizing old, useless stuff:
We’re doing some much needed redecorating and painting of the interior of several room in our house which offered the perfect opportunity for some much needed purging. I have been following along as Annasach documents her adventures in minimizing her spaces, and I found it rather inspiring as well.
Our children have faced this purging of their things with mixed results, but when their room is restocked, it should be much easier for them to keep clean when there is less junk in there to contend with.
They don’t make things like they used to:
The man and I recently shopped for living room furniture. After visiting every major store in our area, I narrowed down what I liked best; a sectional which easily seats the seven of us plus one more person and an oversized matching ottoman.
Before finalizing the order and ponying up the cash, we did some research: reviews, etc. We couldn’t find anything about the particular furniture I’d chosen, (new release), but we found plenty of negative reviews about the company I’d chosen to buy the furniture from.
Before I panicked and headed back to the drawing board -since I really liked what I’d chosen- we decided to check consumer websites for reviews of every major furniture store in our metro area. After all, people usually on put their thoughts on record when they are disgruntled rather than pleased and the company I was ordering from is pretty big.
I included stores known for producing high quality furniture as well, since I was prepared to get what I paid for and shell out more cash for better pieces which will last many years. I am glad I decided to do that, because the results were telling.
Even among companies such as Ethan Allen and Thomasville furnishings, it was easy to find numerous complaints of workmanship, service, delivery times, etc. While that was a little bit discouraging, it did settle me down about the choice of furniture I had settled on since there was clearly no guarantee that going with another company, and buying something I didn’t like as much (I’d already been to all of them anyway) was necessarily going to yield better results. Bottom line is that they just don’t make things like they used to and all the stuff is probably being made by the same company anyway. Just another one of those little things that you miss from yesteryear.
Feminine fashion and perception:
Every couple of months or so I click over and see what interesting stuff has been presented at the website Beyond Black and White. I have a whole lot of opinions and thoughts about their overall agenda (some favorable, some not), but one thing I appreciate is the blog hostess’ push to encourage black women to embrace a more feminine attitude and persona.
Recently she discovered the lure of the pinup girl look after seeing a lot of women dressed in vintage wear while on vacation. She decided to try the look and was amazed at the reaction she got from people. People were suddenly drawn to her, and she the only thing she’d done differently was girl up her look. A lot.
I liked the post because we have known about models like Angelique Noire, the black pinup for a few years, and I wrote before that one of our daughters is very drawn to the highly feminine vintage clothing look.
In reality, it’s not just black women who could use some girlying up. Women as a whole have lost touch with the innate desire to embrace and be beautiful, but black women do have a steeper curve when it comes to the perception of femininity, which is one of the things I do agree with Mrs. Karazin about.
I am not, I repeat NOT like the parody Kyle Exum masterfully presents here in his “Mom Rap”. However, our 10-year-old says that there are a few lines in this funny video that for sure remind her of me. It is very funny, so enjoy, the Mom Rap:
And enjoy your weekend!
I have a lot of thoughts about this piece of writing, but for right now I’m putting this article here as a marker to share one of the things we’ve discussed in our family given our present social circle and the experiences our daughters have had (or will have).
It’ll probably be next week before I can even begin to unpack it properly and I don’t know that I’m going to take the time to do that, so here it is:
An object level example:
A white guy at our daughter’s job made an offer to spend the day hanging out with her when their day off fell on the same day. She didn’t think it was a date proposition -she declined- but as a general rule, men don’t hang around young, attractive women thinking she’s another one of the guys.
There’s also a black guy at her job who clearly has a serious crush on her. Everyone can see it, but he has yet to say anything to her and it’s probably best that he doesn’t to spare everyone involved. She’s not interested.
In other words, this is not just a hypothetical exercise for me, and frankly, despite the fact that the Benevolent Dictator is perfectly cool and at ease with a son-in-law of whatever hue so long as he’s honorable, God-fearing, and good to his girls, I go back and forth on the matter.
The Judgy Bith article just got me thinking. That is all.
My black card was due to be revoked years ago, along with Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell, by the likes of people who have no credibility at all on issues that matter most. They have worldwide platforms yet sit idly by when they should make some noise or at least call out self-destructive nonsense.
I saw these pictures of Charlize Theron and her son several months ago, and was quite frankly, speechless. It was one of those moments when I was offended viscerally, as a black woman, and that doesn’t really happen very often to tell you the truth. My outrage meter was damaged beyond repair several years ago. Or at least, I thought it was.
With news of Bill Nye the Pervert Guy making the rounds, it was easy to be reminded of the assault this generation of children is under. It was also a reminder of the disgust I felt at the realization that this white woman, adopted a young black boy and started dressed him up as a girl because he “identifies as female”.
Yesterday I decided to see what the black media had to say about all this. There was the expected outrage one would expect to find on social media. There were small black-authored blogs who expressed their dismay, but that’s not what this search was about. Instead, I was looking for condemnation from the big guns of black media: BET, Ebony, Essence, et. al.
I found nothing. BET offered a very neutral presentation of the story. On this, they decide to be “just the fact, ma’am”. Rather than deal with it head on, Ebony dismissed the relevance entirely and used it a jumping off point for another round of “how black men are failing black women.” Because the crisis in the development of black boys is not at all connected to the way they will connect with their women later.
Let’s just bash men now, and never mind how they got to be that way. If there is a high level of misogyny found among black men (and I’m not at all convinced that this is true), it’s their own fault. Upon turning 21 years old, Jerome just woke up one morning and decided, “I thnk I’ll mistreat women.” Does that even sound plausible?
This isn’t the only instance of short-sightedness to be found in the way black America approaches issues of importance, the way we major on the minors. Given the extensive bit of debate that has taken place here on the subject of black wealth or the lack thereof, this story was of interest as well.
Shea Moisture is a very successful black-owned beauty products company. It got its start catering to the needs of the fast-growing numbers of black women who were shunning the tradition of straightening our hair and deciding to go back to our roots. Go to any big box store in the country which sells health and beauty products, and you will find a hefty amount of shelf space devoted to Shea Moisture.
Since their products are all healthy and natural based, they can be used by anyone. I have, on a few occasions, noticed their products being purchased by women of other races at the supply store I frequent. In a bid to increase their revenue share (black women only make up about 7% of the American population), they launched an ad campaign to attract women of other races. Since the ad was targeted at a wider range of women than just those f us who are already aware of and patronizing Shea Moisture, the ad included a plurality of the women they were trying to attract.
Backlash ensued, complete with calls to boycott Shea Moisture. I fail to see how this is helpful to the push to increase the amount of black wealth in the U.S.
So…they ignore the public and unapologetic emasculation of a future black man because the black “elite” long ago sided with the sexual deviancy community. Then they decide to cut a hugely successful black-owned company off at the knees because they want to sell their products to more than 7% of the consumer market.
We really are our own worst enemies.
Since my children have already heard all of it, this is a detour of self-indulgent thought sharing. Call it a rabbit trail post, as I continue the discussion started here.
One of the things that rankles me about the discussions concerning the newly resurgent “race problem” in the U.S. is the intellectual dishonesty found on both sides of the issue. I am not so foolish as to think that with my brown skin and black American heritage, I can offer an unbiased opinion. This topic is a charged one and no matter what anyone says about it, someone is going to decide that the thoughts of the person offering them are tainted. I know I often do.
However, as much as I understand the value of knowing who we are, where we came from, and what it means to our children, I am far more invested in Christ’s Eternal Kingdom than I am in anything that happens in this country. More than that, I am convinced that the person who puts his trust in princes or the systems of men is foolish, no matter how smart he sounds. I don’t expect that person to hear me either. If it isn’t apparent to anyone who claims to be a Christian that this entire world lies under the sway of the evil one, any argument about it would be vain.
Nevertheless, a fair and true historical exposition of how we got where we are in this country is in order. Few seem able or willing to hear anything but good about themselves and bad things about “the others”. Christianity in America is already stuck somewhere between a shambles and a joke, so the last thing we need to do is to jump on the ethnic/nationalist bandwagon and forget that we are ambassadors for another kingdom, that this one is not our home. To that end, I figured it’s a good idea to put all of the ideas of the people hell bent on a war under the light of scrutiny. I’ll start with the white nationalist side today, but I have just as many rebuttals to offer to the other side, so save any assumptions.
I have heard a common argument parroted again and again and again and again and…well you get the point. I’ve heard it a lot, and it’s this: that minorities (that is, non-Asian minorities) simply refuse to allow good white folk to live peaceable and separate from the rest of us riff raff. That basically, left to their own devices, people naturally segregate and the only reason this natural phenomena isn’t allowed to play out is because, just like feminists insist on invading male spaces, blacks (and other NAMs) insist on invading white spaces.
Again, I submit that history, recent and of course not so recent, bear out that it is not blacks and other NAMs who are “guilty” of this incursion. It is as it has always been in America, that money and the desire for power is at the root of the diversity in this country, whether the diversity of happenstance or the diversity imposed by legal fiat. I want to get back to that quote from Frederick Douglass that I ended the last post in this series with, because it really does say it all:
“What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”
We all know that this is not what happened, but if the negro had been “left alone” in the first place, there would have been no need for anyone to try and figure out what to do with him when he was loosed from his chains. In other words, this whole thing -at least where black Americans are concerned- started with money grubbing Westerners (aided by greedy, traitorous Africans) invading African space and bringing black people into their “white space” by force.
I know that plenty of people assume any mention of slavery is an attempt to invoke white guilt, but that’s not my point. I don’t expect my neighbors up and down the street to feel an ounce of guilt or obligation to me for something their ancestors did. It’s probably more accurate to assume that for most of them, their ancestors weren’t even here yet to be able to own slaves. Also (historical note), there were plenty of white Southerners who were far too poor to own slaves, many of whom were sharecroppers right alongside the newly freed black slaves. Consider that my obligatory disclaimer against attempts to invoke white guilt. None of that however, changes my original assertion: it wasn’t black people invading white spaces that started all of this.
In every decade between the Emancipation and the Civil Rights Act, under great stress and hardship, black people did relatively well on all indices related to the kind of foundation needed to build a strong, functional community. Thomas Sowell has done an excellent job laying all of these facts out. Rather than rehash what has already been done and done well, I’ll simply offer an overview, and include detailed links later. Thomas Sowell is all about the facts, not laced with heavy bits of opinionated and emotional feel good rhetoric, to his credit:
The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.
Government social programs such as the War on Poverty were considered a way to reduce urban riots. Such programs increased sharply during the 1960s. So did urban riots. Later, during the Reagan administration, which was denounced for not promoting social programs, there were far fewer urban riots.
Neither the media nor most of our educational institutions question the assumptions behind the War on Poverty. Even conservatives often attribute much of the progress that has been made by lower-income people to these programs.
For example, the usually insightful quarterly magazine City Journal says in its current issue: “Beginning in the mid-sixties, the condition of most black Americans improved markedly.”
That is completely false and misleading.
The economic rise of blacks began decades earlier, before any of the legislation and policies that are credited with producing that rise. The continuation of the rise of blacks out of poverty did not — repeat, did not — accelerate during the 1960s.
The poverty rate among black families fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960, during an era of virtually no major civil rights legislation or anti-poverty programs. It dropped another 17 percentage points during the decade of the 1960s and one percentage point during the 1970s, but this continuation of the previous trend was neither unprecedented nor something to be arbitrarily attributed to the programs like the War on Poverty.
In various skilled trades, the incomes of blacks relative to whites more than doubled between 1936 and 1959 — that is, before the magic 1960s decade when supposedly all progress began. The rise of blacks in professional and other high-level occupations was greater in the five years preceding the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than in the five years afterwards.
While some good things did come out of the 1960s, as out of many other decades, so did major social disasters that continue to plague us today. Many of those disasters began quite clearly during the 1960s.
But what are mere facts compared to a heady vision?
This “heady vision” Sowell mentions is again, another instance of do-gooder liberal whites (or seditious Jewish cultural revolutionaries depending on who you ask) meddling with “the others”, not the other way around. Whether it was racists harassing my grandmother and grandfather-in-law for daring to buy 100 acres of land far out in the country away from neighbors of any color, or welfare promoters incentivizing fatherless families, or affirmative action champions attempting to level the playing fields which Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and the prolific Zora Neale Hurston urged against, it was usually others stoking the fires of entitlement and discontent among people who initially wanted the opportunity to achieve or not on the merits of their ability.
Like anyone else (see the women of 2017), when you get used to being handed freebies, coddled, and pushed to the front of the line long enough, your behaviors and expectations evolve accordingly. People believing they are owed a debt that can never be repaid will make trouble.
This is equally true, albeit to a lesser degree, when referring to other NAMs and immigrants. White liberals and media pundits constantly tell these people that the rule of law does not apply to them, that they -non citizens!- have Constitutional protections, and that anyone who dares to suggest they be held to the same legal standards as the rest of us are racists.
The sad part, as The Practical Conservative pointed out in this thread, is that black liberals have foolishly allowed communists and gangsters to act as their political operatives then blame white people for their lack of progress. The bad politics, bad behavior and politically opportunistic conflation engaged in by so-called black leaders is probably the major source of the problem. That is, if you believe blacks should be politically agitating at all in 2017, which I do not.
This is long, so we’ll have to continue it next week.
Hotep (ḥtp) is an Egyptian word that roughly translates as “to be at peace with”.
Anyone who has followed my writing journeys has probably heard that the elementary school I attended started out as a school planted by a couple sent out from Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, where he educated and equipped newly freed slaves to go out and start schools to educate the young people of the upcoming generation. By the time I arrived there in the late 1970’s, it had been long dissected into two schools (an elementary and a high school, the latter of which is closed) and absorbed into the public school system in 1950.
However, it still bears the name of the benefactor who funded the school back in 1895. It was a crown jewel of the south, being located in the first black incorporated municipality in the United States, and boasted visits from the likes of scientist George Washington Carver, Washington himself, and other accomplished black Americans. It was a place where historical pride in its origins was built into the curriculum we were taught.
Like most institutions of black excellence, it began to flounder as the civil rights movement kicked into high gear. By the time I was in 4th grade and tested with an IQ of 130, it was determined that the only way I would be able to live up to my potential was to be immersed in the gifted program at a neighboring school in a white suburb to the east of the town in which I lived and went to school.
Once a week, a bus came to my school, picked me up, and bused me over to the gifted program. It didn’t turn out as well as my teachers hoped. I got on fine with the other children but quite frankly, after being used to and being known as the brightest bulb in the box, I felt dumb in comparison to the other children in the class I was attending. I suspect if the combination of insecurity and new surroundings had been kept in check, I might have done better. I didn’t fail, but I was remarkably average in that particular class. It was in fact, my first experience with seeing a ‘C’ on my papers.
In retrospect, I am profoundly grateful for the chance to learn early on that being “smart” is relative, regardless of test scores, and when our daughter was presented with the opportunity to be put in the gifted track (she wouldn’t have had to switch schools), we respected her decision to skip it. It worked out in her favor because she finished college -with honors from a “good” school- a full two years before her same age peers. And debt free.
I am digressing again. Educational hucksterism is a post for another day.
I have recently been getting acquainted with the ideas being floated by the movement known as the “Hotep Nation”. That is the catalyst for this post, which will simply have to be offered in pieces so that I can offer my thoughts in a coherent way without rushing and saying something I don’t intend to say.Do me the favor of not putting words in my mouth. This is controversial enough without false accusations and alternative facts.
There are things within movement that I ardently agree with, and others with which I vehemently disagree. One thing occurred to me however, as I considered where I came from, the rich history I was born into, and the school I attended as a child: How is it that a place birthed from the indisputably brilliant mind of the great Booker T. Washington, a place of renown academic and industrial excellence, somehow become a place where it was no longer possible for me to fulfill my potential as a young girl?
Schools in majority black communities have only grown worse since the 1970’s. I am contemplating what this means in an era where these schools are the best funded and most aggressively reformed schools in most places. At least, that is certainly the case here in Florida.
More some time next week.
Post partially inspired by Scott’s thoughts.
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